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The Film Tess has been Picked Up for International Distribution - Don't Miss the Book and Film Launches!

Tracey FarrenTess Film PosterMeg Rickards

 
The movie Tess, based on Tracey Farren’s debut novel, has been picked up for international distribution by The Little Film Company.

The film was directed by Meg Rickards and produced by Paul Egan and Kim Williams. It has already won awards and hearts at film festivals, and it will be released on the local circuit on Friday, 24 February.

Read more about the international distribution deal here:

The Little Film Company, a motion picture sales and marketing company founded by Robbie and Ellen Little, is no stranger to the South African film industry, the company previously distributed the 2005 Academy Award Best Foreign Picture winner Tsotsi.  “Tess is a very moving and provocative film and we are all incredibly excited to be bringing it to the world”, said Robbie Little.

Watch the trailer for Tess here:

 

 
Director Meg Rickards wrote an article for Mail & Guardian about why she was committed to making this film. She believes it is crucial that women say “No – systemic sexism can never be tolerated,” and keep on saying that as long and as loudly as necessary.

The story of Tess, a young sex-worker, is one that offers a barometer of how dire sexual violence is in our society. It is not intended to be a general representation, but one story about about one woman, and one voice joining the shout to say “No!”

Read the article

Given that I’m a filmmaker — not a nurse, educator or social worker, who would have infinitely more practical responses — this is what I could do about the things that keep me awake at night: make a movie. I have this mad hope in the power of cinema, not to change the world (if only!) but to nudge it. Cinema’s punch, I believe, comes from its capacity to create empathy and on this basis I challenge viewers to take 88 minutes to walk in Tess’s battered boots.

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Tess

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear the author, the director and the publisher of Tess discuss the story at one of these events:

Colleen Higgs, publisher, will be in conversation with author Tracey Farren and Meg Rickards, director of the movie. Entrance is free. Please RSVP to The Book Lounge: booklounge@gmail.com or 021 462 2425.

  • A screening and panel discussion with the WITS African Centre for Migration & Society in Johannesburg on Friday, 24 February at Wits University.

Details to follow.

  • The Nonceba Family Counselling Centre’s fundraising screening of Tess at the V&A Nu Metro on Sunday, 26 February at 7 pm

Author and screenwriter Tracey Farren, director Meg Rickards and lead actress Christia Visser will join Pauline Perez from the Centre for a Q&A after the screening. Tickets cost R150 and include popcorn and a soft drink – please email noncebafcc@gmail.com to book.

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Here is a list of cinemas that will screen Tess on release day, 24 February:

STER KINEKOR:

  • Bridge
  • Brooklyn Commercial
  • Cresta
  • East Rand Mall
  • Garden Route Mall
  • Gateway Commercial
  • Irene Mall
  • Colonnade
  • Rosebank Mall Nouveau
  • Somerset Mall
  • Tiger Valley
  • Vaal Mall

NU METRO:

  • Menlyn Park
  • V&A Waterfront

INDEPENDENT:

 
Don’t miss out!

Book details

 
Image of Meg Rickards courtesy of PinkVilla

All you wanted to know about publishing but didn't know who to ask

Small Publishers' Catalogue, Africa 2013Small Publishers' Catalogue 2010aspc-2016-v1

 
Everything you wanted to know about getting published in South Africa and didn’t know who to ask!

Some of the questions that will be addressed are:

• What are the reasons to seek publication?
• Will I become rich and famous?
• Should I find a publisher for my manuscript?
• Should I self publish?
• What are the pros and cons of each option?
• How do I find the right publisher?
• When do I know if my book is ready for publication?
• How do I find an agent?
• Do I need an agent?

Colleen Higgs is a writer and publisher. She started Modjaji Books in 2007 and before that she worked at the Centre for the Book where she did many things including mediate the world of publishing for new writers. She is the author of several books most relevantly for this seminar: A Rough Guide to Small Scale and Self Publishing and a pamphlet series about writing and publishing and several catalogues of Small Publishers in Africa. Modjaji Books is an independent feminist press that has published over 100 books and sold rights internationally for a number of it’s authors. Higgs has participated in the Frankfurt Book Fair since 2011 and has been involved in many other local book fairs and literary festivals.

CAPE TOWN SEMINAR
Venue – Centre for the Book
Date: 25th February (Saturday)
Time: 10 to 1.00 (3 hours)
Email info@modjajibooks.co.za to book
Cost: R700

JOZI SEMINAR
Venue – BRIDGE BOOKS
Date: 8th March (Thursday)
Time: 18h00 to 20h00 (2 hours)
Email info@modjajibooks.co.za to book
Cost: R600

Both seminars include a resource list and an African Small Publishers’ Catalogue .

Numbers are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Event Details

Book Details
Looking for Trouble

Book to movie: Tess by Tracey Farren

Black & White_ Low Res-7Tess book coverModjaji Books and The Book Lounge are very excited to invite you to the launch of TESS by Tracey Farren. TESS is the movie tie-in version of Tracey’s first novel that we originally published as Whiplash back in 2008. For the Cape Town launch of the novel, we are hosting a discussion between Tracey Farren (the author) and Meg Rickards (the director of the movie) about the process of turning the novel Whiplash into the movie Tess. Colleen Higgs the publisher will host the discussion. We’d love to see you there.

The movie opens in South Africa at Ster Kinekor cinemas on the 24th February. The movie has already won several awards and received high praise from reviewers.

‘[Tess] digs its nails into you from the word go … raw, tender, and laugh-out-loud funny – a kickarse gem of a book. Told with startling poetry in the grittiest of emotional landscapes, [it] puts Farren on the map as a wordsmith of astonishing talent.’ – Joanne Fedler

‘Farren shows that she has a true gift for getting into the hearts of very ordinary people while astutely setting the South African sociopolitical context.’ Jane Rosenthal, Mail & Guardian

When the book was published as Whiplash by an unknown debut author in 2008, it was short listed for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize in 2009, and the author received A White Ribbon Award from the Women Demand Dignity Advocacy Group.

A gut wrenching story of a Muizenberg sex worker, Tess who pops painkillers by the handful and sells her body to strangers. When a condom breaks, Tess’s life swings one eighty degrees. She gives up her drugs until she can get to an abortion clinic. Her cold turkey opens up a window in her mind, whipping Tess into a shattering understanding of how she got here. Tess’s quirky humour, raw honesty and deep love of beauty lead her to find redemption in astonishing places. This book has a huge heart, like Tess, revealing that there is something in everyone that cannot be touched. Not by human hands. Not ever.

Tracey Farren lives a stone’s throw from the Cape Point with some children, a luthier and a pack of dogs. She has a psychology honours degree and worked as a freelance journalist for several years before her muse called her to fiction. Tess is a new edition of her first acclaimed, award-winning novel, Whiplash. Her second novel, Snake was published in to critical acclaim and she has just finished writing her third novel, The Rig.

Event Details

Tess
Book Details

Book Launch: Unlikely by Colleen Crawford Cousins

IMG_0036Modjaji Books and The Book Lounge are delighted to invite you to the launch of Colleen Crawford Cousins’ debut collection of poems, Unlikely.

As the publisher, I’m particularly thrilled to bring out this collection. Colleen Crawford Cousins was my first Modjaji matron, and she is my very dear friend. Her writing is strong, deeply felt, full of life, humour and shining intelligent clarity. It is my enormous honour to be Colleen’s friend and publisher and to bring her work into the light.

“Wry narratives, stored for decades, distilled and reclaimed fleeting feelings and feelings made to last in their weird word forms, meet and fitting.” Joan Metelerkamp

“In acutely observed poems, imbued with surprising geographies of imagery and tinged with irony, Crawford Cousins maps out the spaces between immensity and confinement, where people struggle with each other and themselves for a sense of fulfilment and belonging.” Kelwyn Sole

Unlikely front cover

Unlikely is a collection of poems by Colleen Crawford Cousins written over decades of reading and writing poetry. The collection is a distillation of a quiet, powerful voice that is an offering of love in a world and life that has been filled with light and anguish.

Colleen Crawford Cousins returned to South Africa in 1991 and began to live in the Afterwards. She consults nationally as a trainer, facilitator, writer and editor. She has been published in New Coin, Aerodrome, African Writing online and Stray. She is also the author of A Hundred Furrows, the Land Struggle in Zimbabwe 1890-1990 and a co-author of Lwaano Lwanyika, Tonga Book of the Earth.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday 2nd March 2017
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge, Corner of Roeland and Buitenkant Streets, Cape Town
  • Guest Speaker: Colleen Higgs
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Book Lounge, booklounge@gmail.com, 021 462 2425
    www.modjajibooks.co.za

Unlikely
Book Details

Imagining ourselves into existence: First ever Abantu Book Festival in Soweto a roaring success

Words and images by Thato Rossouw

My Own LiberatorUnimportanceSweet MedicineAffluenzaNwelezelangaThe Daily Assortment of Astonishing Things and Other StoriesRapeFlying Above the SkyNight DancerBlack Widow SocietyThe Everyday WifeOur Story Magic

 
“A conquered people often lose the inclination to tell their stories.”

These were the words of former Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke at the inaugural Abantu Book Festival, in discussion with readers about the importance of black people telling their own stories and having spaces where they can share them with one another. “We have stories to tell, they are important, and they are liberating in nature,” he said.

 
Moseneke’s words came as a preamble to compliment the authors Thando Mgqolozana and Panashe Chigumadzi, and the rest of their team members, for organising a festival that not only celebrated black writers, readers, pan-African book stores, and online platforms that celebrate African literature and narratives, but also gave them a safe space to speak freely about the issues they face in their struggle to liberate themselves.

The festival, which was themed “Imagining ourselves into existence”, came as a result of Mgqolozana’s decision early last year to renounce white colonial literary festivals. In an interview with The Daily Vox in May last year, Mgqolozana told Theresa Mallinson that his decision to reject these festivals came from a discomfort with literary festivals where the audience was 80 percent white. “It’s in a white suburb in a white city. I feel that I’m there to perform for an audience that does not treat me as a literary talent, but as an anthropological subject,” he said.

 
The three-day festival took place at two venues: the Eyethu Lifestyle Centre, which hosted free events during the day, and the Soweto Theatre, which hosted events in the evening. These evening festivities cost R20 per person and featured over 50 poets, novelists, essayists, playwrights, literary scholars, screenwriters, performing artists and children’s writers from across Africa and the diaspora. Some of the writers and artists who were present at the festival include Niq Mhlongo, Unathi Magubeni, Lidudumalingani Mqombothi, Thandiswa Mazwai, Pumla Dineo Gqola, Lebogang Mashile and Chika Unigwe, among many others.

 
The first day of the festival began with a discussion featuring four black female Fallist writers, Dikeledi Sibanda, Mbali Matandela, Sandy Ndelu and Simamkele Dlakavu, titled “Writing and Rioting Black Womxn in the time of Fallism”. The discussion covered topics ranging from the role of the body, particularly the naked body, in challenging old narratives, to writing and rioting as acts of activism. It was then followed by a highly attended talk with Justice Moseneke entitled “Land and Liberation”, a concert by the group Zuko Collective at the Soweto Theatre, as well as speeches and performances at the opening night show.

Some of the riveting discussions at the festival were titled: “Land and Liberation”, “Women of Letters”, “Writing Today”, “Cut! Our Stories on Stage and Screen”, “Ghetto is Our First Love”, “Creating Platforms for Our Stories” and “Writing Stories Across and Within Genres”. The festival also included seven documentary screenings, poetry performances, a writing masterclass with Angela Makholwa and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, and performances every night at the Soweto Theatre by Zuko Collective.

 
Dr Gcina Mhlophe gave the keynote address at the festival’s opening night, which was preceded by the singing of the decolonised national anthem and a rendition of the poem “Water” by poet Koleka Putuma. Mhlophe reminded the audience that, while it is important for us to celebrate young and upcoming artists, it is also important to remember and celebrate those that came before them. She sang and told stories about people like Mariam Tladi and Nokutela Dube and spoke about their role in the development of the arts. Dube was the first wife of Reverend John Langalibalele Dube who was the first President General of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC) which was later renamed the African National Congress (ANC).

 
The festival ended with a sold-out event at the Soweto Theatre that featured a discussion on “Native Life in 2016” between Chigumadzi and I’solezwe LesiXhosa editor Unathi Kondile, facilitated by Mashile; a performance by Zuko Collective; and a Literary Crossroads session with Unigwe, facilitated by Ndumiso Ngcobo.
 

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The hashtag #AbantuBookFest was on fire for the duration of the festival and long afterwards:


 
Facebook gallery

Book details

"I think another country is possible" - Sharlene Swartz's Another Country: Everyday Social Restitution launched in Cape Town

“I think another country is possible” – Sharlene Swartz’s Another Country: Everyday Social Restitution launched in Cape Town“I think another country is possible” – Sharlene Swartz’s Another Country: Everyday Social Restitution launched in Cape Town

 

Another CountryThe Book Lounge recently played host to Sharlene Swartz and many guests at the Launch of Another Country: Everyday Social Restitution.

In conversation with struggle stalwart Denis Goldberg, an impassioned Swartz relayed her experiences as a white woman living in South Africa in relation to the other races in the country.

The Professor of Sociology began by sharing an anecdote of her experience in Zurich where as a 21-year-old white woman she for the first time experienced the hatred and anger of another white person because of apartheid. “He spat on my shoe and slammed the door,” she recalls. It was an eye opening moment for the author who went on to say, “The book is a spit on the shoes of white South Africa.”

Swartz explained that the book aims to restore humanity and to encourage dialogue between South Africans who wouldn’t generally speak to one another. She asked average, everyday South Africans what kind of South Africa they would like and summarised their responses: “Everyone wanted a country where they could feel like they belong.”

“I think another country is possible” – Sharlene Swartz’s Another Country: Everyday Social Restitution launched in Cape Town“I think another country is possible” – Sharlene Swartz’s Another Country: Everyday Social Restitution launched in Cape Town

 

According to the research Swartz carried out while writing the book, close to 70 per cent of South Africans say that “we should forget the past and move on”. The book asks: “How do we move on when so many black South Africans are living an inferior reality?”

After a detailed introduction to the book and the questions it seeks to answer, Swartz revealed the crux of the book, suggesting that “everyone can do something [about restitution], not just the government”. She proposes a working definition for social restitution as, “Acts and attitudes towards making things right for the past … to recognise human dignity.”

After Swartz’s brief introduction and summary of the book, she invited Goldberg to comment on the current social situation within the Country. The founder of the organisation, Community HEART reminded the audience that, “the apartheid regime killed between ten and twelve thousand people, yet people still talk about a bloodless revolution.” He argued that “this is one of the causes of anger today – saying black blood doesn’t matter”.

Further defining social restitution, Goldberg puts forward that “we know what our society ought to be and also what it is … we need to bridge the gap between is and ought through social action ie social restitution”. Goldberg describes the book as, “refreshing and remarkable” saying: “Sharlene has shown us how to speak frankly.”

Another Country recommends about 200 practical, financial, and symbolic ideas that regular South Africans can use towards social restitution. Swartz also introduced an app that allows one to find these numerous suggestions. The book synopsis concludes, “There is something for everyone to do – individuals and communities, alongside government and institutional efforts.”

Swartz closed off the evening saying, “I think another country is possible, that’s why I wrote the book.”

Kasuba Stuurman (‏@kasuba_sun) tweeted live from the event:


 

Book details